Amazing assistance dog Ethan wins top RSCPA animal award

AN ASSISTANCE dog from the charity Canine Partners has been awarded the prestigious Amazing Animal Award at the RSPCA’s annual Honours ceremony in London.

Ethan, a black Labrador X Golden Retriever, won the award for helping his owner Sally Whitney, from Brighton, East Sussex, to live a more independent life.

“I am so proud of Ethan for receiving this award. Having him in my life has boosted my confidence and self-esteem in so many ways,” says Sally, a 31-year-old full-time wheelchair user.

“He has helped me physically around the home, I can take showers in privacy now because if I were to faint he would be able to alert my carers but it is so much more than that. He has helped my emotional and mental wellbeing and that feels totally life changing.”

Sally had been unwell since 2005 and was diagnosed with autoimmune disease Lupus in 2008 and four years later, she was further diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. She suffers with violent seizures, meaning she needs around the clock care.

“I used to feel that people just looked at me because I was a young person in a wheelchair and they didn’t know what to say but now with Ethan he starts conversations as people love to tell me how handsome he is and ask about what he can do and that leads to further interactions,” says Sally, who was partnered with Ethan in 2015.

“When a human carer looks after you there can be some feelings of guilt there, there is a lot of emotional drain. You are always asking people to help you and can’t really give anything back.”

Canine Partners is a national charity that trains assistance dogs to transform the lives of people with disabilities, boosting their confidence and independence.

The dogs are taught a range of everyday tasks including picking up and fetching items, opening doors and helping to undress a person. They can even help to load and unload a washing machine and they can fetch help in an emergency.

“We have over 440 active partnerships across the UK and Sally and Ethan are a fantastic example of how our amazing dogs transform the lives of people living with physical disabilities, giving them back their confidence and independence,” says Nicola Martin, CEO of Canine Partners.

“We are delighted that canine partner Ethan has won this prestigious RSPCA award, recognising the exceptional difference he has made to Sally’s life. To find out more about the work of Canine Partners, please visit”

The award was given on 27 June 2019 at a star studded award ceremony hosted by John Bishop and held at BAFTA in London.

Ethan’s award was presented by Reality TV star and RSPCA ambassador Eyal Booker.

To find out more about Canine Partners, please visit

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